Poem Choices - Poetry Day 26th April 2018

Adults & Teenagers

 

 

Gerund

Bernard O’Donoghue

The only child of parents in their forties,

he grew up in a County Council cottage

by the roadside. They never knew what

to make of him, so when the teacher

from the National School said he must be sent

to the secondary, they let him go.

He never said that much: but enough to show

he had more brains than all the rest of us

put together. When Joe Garvey asked

‘What part of speech is desperandum?’,

trembling, he volunteered ‘a gerund,’

and then translated ‘what must be despaired of.’

How did he know? At the end of the first year

he chose to stay at home. Again they called

to the cottage in dismay, begging

them to send him back, but his father said

with a shrug, ‘whatever he says himself.’

He said he wanted just to stay at home.

The only time I saw him afterwards

(at least I think it was him), drunk

at a local dance when the rest of us

were home on holidays from college, his speech

was slurred, and he could barely stand.

 

First published in The Enchanting Verses Literary Review, Issue XXIV.

http://www.theenchantingverses.org/

By kind permission of the author.

 

* * * * * * * *

(from: Writing in a Time of Violence)

The Dolls Museum in Dublin

Eavan Boland

The wounds are terrible. The paint is old.
The cracks along the lips and on the cheeks
cannot be fixed. The cotton lawn is soiled.
The arms are ivory dissolved to wax.

Recall the Quadrille. Hum the waltz.
Promenade on the yacht-club terraces.
Put back the lamps in their copper holders,
the carriage wheels on the cobbled quays.

And recreate Easter in Dublin.
Booted officers. Their mistresses.
Sunlight criss-crossing College Green.
Steam hissing from the flanks of horses.

Here they are. Cradled and cleaned,
held close in the arms of their owners.
Their cold hands clasped by warm hands,
their faces memorized like perfect manners.

The altars are mannerly with linen.
The lilies are whiter than surplices.
The candles are burning and warning:
Rejoice, they whisper. After sacrifice.

Horse-chestnuts hold up their candles.
The Green is vivid with parasols.
Sunlight is pastel and windless.
The bar of the Shelbourne is full.

Laughter and gossip on the terraces.
Rumour and alarm at the barracks.
The Empire is summoning its officers.
The carriages are turning: they are turning back.

Past children walking with governesses,
Looking down, cossetting their dolls,
then looking up as the carriage passes,
the shadow chilling them. Twilight falls.

It is twilight in the dolls' museum. Shadows
remain on the parchment-coloured waists,
are bruises on the stitched cotton clothes,
are hidden in the dimples on the wrists.

The eyes are wide. They cannot address
the helplessness which has lingered in
the airless peace of each glass case:
to have survived. To have been stronger than

a moment. To be the hostages ignorance
takes from time and ornament from destiny. Both.
To be the present of the past. To infer the difference
with a terrible stare. But not feel it. And not know it.

 

from In a Time of Violence, Manchester: Carcanet, 1994.

www.carcanet.co.uk/

By kind permission of the author.

 

* * * * * * * *

Perl Poem

Leontia Flynn

Surrounded by bric-a-brac – mugs of stale coffee and old

manuals – Lawrence works at his desk.

His computer screen burns like a Cyclops’ eye. He is

writing programs

for drinks companies in Dublin – helping keep Ireland,

North and South, awash with hooch.

while( <FHND> ){ s/\x0a/\x0d\x0a/g; push(

@m_arr, Hio:parse( $_) ); } . . ., he writes,

for ( $i; $i < @m_arr; $i++ ) { print FHND

$m_arr[ $i ]; }.

 

Programming language, he says, is no dry, fussy

abstraction. There’s tremendous wit

in its usage: the elegance of Perl – Edwin Morgan’s ‘great,

final ease of creation’

in turning the lines most perfectly to their function. It’s

not science fiction.

It’s not like: If we can just hack into the mainframe of the

computer

we should be able to upload the virus on to the mothership.

 

And it’s not like poetry; it doesn’t log out or go off into

the ether freighted only with itself;

it walks a network of roads, getting dust on its feet and

saying hi to people –

sub cZap { my $sig = shift; &cleanup; die

“Recd: SIG$sig\n”; } $SIG{ INT} = \&cZap; –

It doesn’t hover over the country – like poetry does –

like a special effect.

 

from These Days, London: Jonathan Cape/Random House, 2004.

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk/publishers/vintage/jonathan-cape/

By kind permission of the author.

 

* * * * * * * *

I Think of Water

Enda Coyle-Greene

I think of water as a word

shaped by a child, its colour

quiet flowers that surround me

draped on fences; overheard

in someone else’s garden,

it is fluid-featured,

speaking in a language

I don’t understand.

 

I think of water as a bird

above the roofs, a song-spill

into dust, a tongue of air

where dusk breathes

and the day becomes pared

down to this: a star, a moon,

an artery of concrete lane, warm

as blood between the houses.

 

I think of water as the world

cools on a dog’s one note; at my feet

a polka-dotted cat absorbs

the kindling crick and whirr

of crickets, a flick of night-

moths pass: silently intent,

they tease the single streetlight

like a thirst.

 

from Snow Negatives, Dublin: Dedalus Press, 2007.

www.dedaluspress.com

By kind permission of the author and Dedalus Press.

 

* * * * * * * *

Chances Are

Christodoulos Makris

<a class="twitter-timeline" href="https://twitter.com/search?q=chance" data-

widget-id="431483049818087424">Tweets about "chance"</a>

<script>!function(d,s,id){var

js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.

getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.co

m/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-

wjs");</script>

 

 

For an online application of this mass collaboration poem go to:

http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/chances-are/

 

The Twitter widget poem has been running on 3:AM Magazine since 9 August 2014.

Also published in The Architecture of Chance, Portarlington, Co. Laois: Wurm Press, 2015.

By kind permission of the author.

Author Blog Page: http://yesbutisitpoetry.blogspot.ie/

 

* * * * * * * *

Ceol

Gearóid MacLochlainn

Bhí sé ciúin. Róchiúin. Níor dhúirt se faic ar feadh tamaill.

 

Ansin thóg sé an giotár agus thosaigh sé ag piocadh na dtéad. Go

fadálach ar dtús. Ach thosaigh an ceol ag stealladh uaidh. D’eitil a

mhéara ar luas lasrach. Nótaí gorma ag damhsa ar an aer, á

ndoirteadh amach go fras flúirseach, ar nós fraoch na farraige.

 

Frásaí is liodán línte a ling go líofa ó linn láncheoil; friotail a tháinig

ón dubh is ó lionn dubh lom. Sheinn sé foinn sciobtha scuabtha, na

strancáin sholasacha bhrónacha ag spalpadh uaidh gan stró.

Comhrá gan strus. Gan streachailt.

Cabaireacht, geabaireacht na dtéad, ag rolladh ar bharr a méar.

 

Bhí tais ag stealladh anuas ar bhallaí an tseomra. Bhí glórtha na

gaoithe lasmuigh ag feadaíl inár gcluasa, fuacht na n-oícheanta

geimhridh fada ag creimeadh ar na ballaí.

 

Ansin, labhair sé . . . ar bharr lasrach.

 

ó Criss-Cross / Mo Chara, Conamara: Cló Iar-Chonnachta, 2011.

www.cic.ie/

Le cead cineálta an údair.

 

* * * * * * * ** * * * * * * *

 

Children

(Under 12)

 

 

The Great Blue Whale

Kerry Hardie

Nobody knows

where he goes

nor what he does in the deeps,

 

nor why he sings,

like a bird without wings,

nor where he eats and sleeps.

 

The blue whale roves

through watery groves,

his heart is the size of a car,

 

his tongue, on the scale,

makes zoologists pale –

it’s as heavy as elephants are.

 

A blue whale’s vein

without stress or strain

could be swum down by you or me.

 

He’s the biggest feature

that ever did creature

the sky, the land or the sea.

 

from Something Beginning with P, Ed. Seamus Cashman, Illustr. Corrina Askin & Alan Clarke, Typog. Illustr. Emma Byrne, Dublin: O’Brien Press, 2004.

https://www.obrien.ie/

Editor: http://www.poetryireland.ie/education/writers-directory/seamus-cashman

By kind permission of the author.

 

* * * * * * * *

Robot Kid

Patrick Chapman

Imagine being built with bolts

and powered by a million volts.

You’d have to wear a glove to shake

the hands of other kids – or make

 

them disappear in puffs of smoke!

And then you’d have to play and joke

with different children every week

because your friends were always – Eek! –

 

exploding, until one smart kid

unplugged you from the power grid.

And then you’d sleep for evermore,

your only sound, a robot snore.

 

So thank your lucky, lucky stars

and some small planets, that you are

a kid of flesh and blood – and not

a super-voltage kid robot.

 

from Something Beginning with P, Ed. Seamus Cashman, Illustr. Corrina Askin & Alan Clarke, Typog. Illustr. Emma Byrne, Dublin: O’Brien Press, 2004.

https://www.obrien.ie/

Editor: http://www.poetryireland.ie/education/writers-directory/seamus-cashman

By kind permission of the author.

 

* * * * * * * *

The Cat And The Moon

W. B. Yeats

The cat went here and there

And the moon spun round like a top,

And the nearest kin of the moon,

The creeping cat, looked up.

Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,

For, wander and wail as he would,

The pure cold light in the sky

Troubled his animal blood.

Minnaloushe runs in the grass

Lifting his delicate feet.

Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?

When two close kindred meet,

What better than call a dance?

Maybe the moon may learn,

Tired of that courtly fashion,

A new dance turn.

Minnaloushe creeps through the grass

From moonlit place to place,

The sacred moon overhead

Has taken a new phase.

Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils

Will pass from change to change,

And that from round to crescent,

From crescent to round they range?

Minnaloushe creeps through the grass

Alone, important and wise,

And lifts to the changing moon

His changing eyes.

 

From The Wild Swans at Coole, New York: Macmillan, 1919.

 

* * * * * * * *

Ar an Seilf sa Leabharlann

Mícheál Ó Ruairc

An raibh tú riamh ann

ar an seilf sa leabharlann ?

Bíonn sport agus spraoi ann

ar an seilf sa leabharlann.

Tá fear a thaistil an domhan ann

ar an seilf sa leabharlann.

Cónaíonn madra rua agus coinín donn ann

ar an seilf sa leabharlann.

Tá file ina chime ann

ar an seilf sa leabharlann.

Tá cogadh agus gorta ann

ar an seilf sa leabharlann.

Tá stair agus tíreolas ann

ar an seilf sa leabharlann.

Tá grá agus crá croí ann

ar an seilf sa leabharlann.

Tá bleachtairí agus bithiúnaigh ann

ar an seilf sa leabharlann.

Tá buachaill bó ar chapall ann

ar an seilf sa leabharlann.

Tá fuirse agus fulaingt ann

ar an seilf sa leabharlann.

Tá éisc ó bhun na habhann

ar an seilf sa leabharlann.

Tá ollphéist le dhá cheann

ar an seilf sa leabharlann.

Tá spiaire ón Rúis ann

ar an seilf sa leabharlann.

Tá taibhse i bhfolach ann

ar an seilf sa leabharlann.

Tá bean sí ar scuab ann

ar an seilf sa leabharlann.

Tá iontaisí an tsaoil ann

ar an seilf sa leabharlann.

Ar mhaith leat cónaí ann

ar an seilf sa leabharlann?

 

ó Something Beginning with P, Ed. Seamus Cashman, Illustr. Corrina Askin & Alan Clarke, Typog. Illustr. Emma Byrne, Dublin: O’Brien Press, 2004.

https://www.obrien.ie/

Eagarthóir: http://www.poetryireland.ie/education/writers-directory/seamus-cashman

Le cead cineálta an údair.

 

* * * * * * * *

Bunoscionn

Áine Ní Ghlinn

Ar leoithne gaoithe

ar scammall aeir

thuirling cluas mhór ghroí

anuas ón spéir

 

Sheas i lár an ghairdín is

d’umhlaigh sí go béasach

Chas sí thart go grástúil

is d’fhan sí seal ag éisteacht

 

le crónán an chait

le búiríl na habhann

le siosarnach na nduilleog

le cogarnaíl na gcrann

 

leis an madra ag tafann

leis an ngaoth ag feadaíl

leis an mbáibín ag caoineadh

le préachán ag grágaíl

 

Bhí an luascán ag geonaíl

Bhí an geata ag gíoscán

agus thuas os ár gcionn

bhí seordán eitleáin

 

Chúb an chluas chuici

Rinne umhlú arís

is cheap mé ar dtús

go raibh sí ar bís

 

Ansin go tobann

chuala mé gleo aisteach

mar a bheadh fuaimeanna an ghairdín

á gcasadh is á meascadh

 

Chas an chluas thart

go mall is go réidh

is ar leoithne gaoithe

d’éalaigh sí leí

 

Fágtha sa ghairdín

bhí an madra ag búiríl

Bhí an luascán ag caoineadh

is an cat ag feadaíl

 

Bhí an geata ag tafann

Bhí an abhainn ag gíoscán

is ó bhéal an bháibín

chuala mé seordán

 

Bhí na crainn ag crónán

Bhí an ghaoth ag grágaíl

Bhí préachán ag siosarnach

Bhí eitleán ag geonaíl

 

D’fhéach mé in airde

Bhí an chluas i bhfad ar shiúl

ach thabharfainn an leabhar

gur chuala mé gáire toll magúil

 

ó Something Beginning with P, Ed. Seamus Cashman, Illustr. Corrina Askin & Alan Clarke, Typog. Illustr. Emma Byrne, Dublin: O’Brien Press, 2004.

https://www.obrien.ie/

Eagarthóir: http://www.poetryireland.ie/education/writers-directory/seamus-cashman

Le cead cineálta an údair.